Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Job Loss Deceptions

34 seconds into this video, Obama claimed:
“we will have lost in 2008, uh, more jobs than at any time since, uh, World War II.”
In absolute numbers, that turned out to be true. However, after adjusting for labor force growth (as any HONEST politician or reporter would), that statement is not even close to being accurate.

Although the following chart does not depict the exact data cited by Obama (we’ll get to that next), the essence of the deception is obvious just by glancing at the following chart. In this chart, the absolute numbers (in green, scale on the right) do not yet exceed 1982 levels. If one were to normalize those numbers against the growth in the labor force (in blue, scale on the left), one would find that the current conditions, by this metric, are not even close to 1982 conditions.

Civilian Labor Force vs. Civilians Unemployed - 15 weeks or over
Click the Image to Enlarge it and View The Source Data:

Click the image to enlarge it and view the source data

Okay, let’s examine the actual data which Obama cited:

Jobs lost:
2008: 2,589,000
1982: 2,128,000
1945: 2,750,000

Data Source (for each year cited): BLS data.

Conclusion: Technically, Obama did not overtly lie. But, as we shall see, neither was he entirely honest in his characterization of the severity of the present conditions.

Next, let’s examine the size of the “Civilian Labor Force Level” at the end of each year in question:

2008: 154,447,000
1982: 111,083,000
1948: 61,169,000
Note: The data are only available as far back as 1948.

Data Source (for each year cited): BLS data - Series ID LNS11000000.

Next, let’s normalize the jobs lost as a percentage of the labor force:

2008: 1.68%
1982: 1.92%
1945: Something greater than 4.5% (because we are dividing by the size of the 1948 labor force)

Conclusion: Obama was, shall we say, not entirely honest in his characterization of the severity of the present conditions.

But, click here and understand that Obama’s deception paled in comparison to a slightly different media characterization of more recent job loss data.

Click here for an on-going comparison of present conditions against previous recessions.

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